The Spokesman for Sudan People?s Liberation Army (SPLA), Major General Kuol Deim Kuol has refuted claims by Kenyan businessmen and nationals that SPLA soldiers are harassing Kenyan nationals working and doing business in southern Sudan.
SPLA soldiers parade in Juba during the celebration of the 2d anniversary of the signing of the CPA Jan 2007 (?John A. Wuoi )The SPLA Spokesman was reacting to claims in some section of the Kenyan media that at least 3 Kenyans are being held in Rumbek in connection with the murder of a Ukrainian flight engineer, Mykola Sebrenikov.?
A post mortem examination done on the late Mr. Sebrenikov at a Nairobi hospital indicates that he might have committed suicide.
He added that the 3 Kenyans allegedly killed by SPLA soldiers 15 kilometers inside southern Sudan, were actually killed by what he referred to as ?Kenyans bandits?.
?In actual fact, the incident happened on 24th March this year in which Kenyan robbers attacked a Kenyan truck at Khor Duluma and in that incident, 3 Kenyans were killed. Khor Duluma is inside Kenyan territory, it is a known place and it is a banditry point?, he said.
He further accused Kenyan authorities of refusing to establish a police post at Khor Duluma which according to him would have saved lives of many southern Sudanese who died as they fled the civil war in Sudan to seek refuge in Kenya.
?Many southern Sudanese fleeing war in Southern Sudan have been killed and SPLA has been appealing to our Kenyan brothers in Lokichoggio police to establish a police post at the Khor Duluma because Khor Duluma is inside Kenya?, he added.
Kuol said the Chairman of Long Distance Truck Drivers Association, (an association which he says is not registered in Southern Sudan) Nicholas Mbugua has been lying to the media and Kenyan public over the alleged harassment of Kenyan trucks drivers in Southern Sudan by the SPLA soldiers.
He said, ?Nicholas Mbugua accused the SPLA of killing 3 Kenyans 15 kilometers inside southern sudan, which is just a concoction?.
Mbugua could not be reached for comments.
The SPLA Spokesman also alleged that Kenyan nationals in southern Sudan are being used by ? what he called ? forces that want to tarnish the image of the Government of Southern Sudan and the SPLA.
Incidents of harassment of foreigners including Kenyans and Ugandan nationals in Southern Sudan have increased over the last few months with SPLA soldiers largely to blame. According to businessmen and foreigners working in southern Sudan, the SPLA soldiers extort money from them as well as put them in jails without charges, a claim that the SPLA spokesman has denied.
Early this month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni formed a committee to investigate allegations of SPLA soldiers harassing Ugandan businessmen in Southern Sudan and at roadblocks between the Sudan and Uganda.
The Committee, headed by Walter Ochora, the Commissioner of Gulu District in Uganda, is charged with responsibility to investigate claims of harassment of Ugandan nationals in southern Sudan and prepare a report to be presented to President Museveni.
The Kenyan government through its embassy in the Sudanese capital Khartoum has written to the Government of Southern Sudan to protest the harassment, intimidations, arbitrary detention and beatings of some Kenyan nationals by southern Sudan security agents.
The Government of Southern Sudan maintains that it is not holding Kenyans in jails in southern sudan neither are SPLA soldiers harassing Kenyans nationals in Southern Sudan as reported in some section of the Kenyan media